cover image Winter Sky

Winter Sky

Patricia Reilly Giff. Random/Lamb, $15.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-375-83892-7

In spare prose, Giff (Gingersnap) subtly conveys the worries of 11-year-old Siria, whose firefighter father regularly risks his life to rescue others. Unbeknownst to her father, Siria keeps watch over him, chasing fires in the middle of the night to “be his luck.” When a series of fires threatens the neighborhood, Siria suspects that her best friend Douglas may be involved in setting the blazes. Then there’s the mangy stray dog that mysteriously appears at fires and urgently needs Siria’s care. Giff poetically demonstrates Siria’s compassion through actions rather than words. A subplot regarding Siria’s fascination with stars is skillfully woven into the story, expressing the girl’s connection to the mother she lost years ago. Other threads of connectivity emerge, tying Siria to significant people in her life: her father and the other firefighters, who have become like family to her; the occupants of her apartment complex; and the dog she takes under her wing. Siria’s close-knit community evokes a comforting atmosphere of warmth and mutual support even in the midst of danger. Ages 8–12. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)